(photo by Jason Hickey)
A spokesman for Southern California Edison, the operator of the San Onofre nuclear power generating station (between LA and San Diego, the big white dome-shaped thing off I-5) was trying to calm fearful Southern California residents today when he explained that the 84-acre generating station was built to withstand a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. He also told local media that a 25-foot-high "tsunami wall" of reinforced concrete stood between the plant and the immediately adjacent Pacific ocean.
Well, that's nice. But this Southern California resident remains concerned: the earthquake that devastated Japan last Friday, throwing various nuclear power plants into crisis and sparking worldwide fears of a major nuke accident, was a 9.0 "great quake." And the tsunami that soon followed? That was 33 feet high.
When the plant was built 42 years ago (42 years! That's forever in design-years!), scientists predicted a 6.5 quake could strike the plant. The designers of the San Onofre plant built with a higher threshold in mind. But man, not high enough, for my money. There's a geological fault just 5 miles offshore, and good odds we'll be hit by a "great quake" of our own, sooner or later.
For context: those documents from TEPCO, operator of the stricken Fukushima plant in Japan, that were obtained by reporters at the Wall Street Journal? They show that engineers tested the Fukushima plant to withstand a quake up to magnitude 7.9.
Los Angeles Times article here.
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]